My Praxis Story

About SLP
Despite no people of color on this poster, it has a lot of great info

Last week, I completed another milestone in my #SLP life. I passed my national licensing exam in Speech Language Pathology! I am not a great test-taker so this was a topic of much anxiety for me…I studied for about 3 weeks (watching Review videos compiled by my Department, taking practice tests provided by ETS and reviewing my areas of weakness, using a Praxis review book, and searching personal blogs for bits of inspiration and test prep tips). I found some inner confidence to face an exam that in all reality was fair and related to real life situations we find in our field.

I originally scheduled my exam for February 14th. After hearing success story after story of my classmates passing the exam, I decided to push my date up by a week. Testing sites usually offer times beginning at 8am. I scheduled my exam for 12pm on a campus I had never previously visited. I also rented a car to get there. Below are some things I learned from the experience.

Smart things to do:

  • If you schedule your exam at a site that you are not familiar with, take some time to go and visit the location, and find out what parking is like, etc. I didn’t own a car at the time, so I didn’t have the option of doing this ahead of time.
  • Know yourself well enough to schedule your exam at a time where your brain is at its most productive state. I scheduled my exam for 12pm because I didn’t want to oversleep and I wanted to have a decent breakfast. The morning of I woke up at 7am and could not go back to sleep. Needless to say, I spent a lot of hours twirling my fingers at home that morning.
  • Approach the exam with confidence. For me, I kept writing affirmations like “I’m grateful that I will pass the Praxis” and taping them on my walls, used positive self-talk, and envisioned what I would do the moment I saw my passing score. This is another perk of the computerized exam– your exam is graded right away!
  • Anxiety is good, if you can learn to manage it. Anxiety can help us, whether it be that kick in the behind to stay on our study schedule, to turn down social events, stay focused at the task at hand during the exam and to stay motivated about the end result.
  • Don’t second guess yourself! Your first answer is usually the correct one.

For me, the most helpful piece of advice was to stay confident because, if you’ve made it this far in your graduate school journey, you know more than you give yourself credit for! I spent a considerable amount of time studying how to take this particular exam, because it is not merely an exam of recall– it involves analyzing, synthesizing and critical thinking. I took 3 practice tests, under real live testing conditions (put my phone on airplane mode and out of arm’s reach) and gave myself 2 hours. It also helped that my school offered a Praxis preparation course, where helpful tips are given and practice exams are also administered.

I wish every #SLP2B, no matter where you are on the journey, positive wishes to stay the course…the pay off is surely worth it!

Any SLPeeps who have passed the PRAXIS have any tips they care to share?

Sincerely,

She

My Praxis Story

Surviving School (at age 26)

Click pic for Source

As the semester winds down, I couldn’t let too much time pass without sharing some of the tips and tricks I picked up as an older student returning to school after a 2 year break. Whether you’re considering going back to school, or are still in the thick of your undergraduate time here are some lessons I learned to survive being in school full time. And for a light laugh make sure you also check out 7 Things I Learned from going back to school (at age 26).

GLEAN [from the smartest]

It’s easy to tell after a couple of weeks, who’s excelling in class and who’s just not that serious. It may be the way a student sits in class, constantly answers/asks questions, generally has that ‘no-nonsense‘ demeanor, and even spends a lot of time in the library. There will be classes in which forming study groups is the only means for survival; if you have to be the one to organize the group– by all means, take the initiative. Seek out these exceptional students, and glean from them. In a group setting, glean whatever strategies/methods they use to study, and don’t be afraid to ask them how they prepare for exams or take notes in class.

ANNOTATE [your readings]

There’s nothing more pointless than spending hours reading pages of information you’ll forget the second you’re done with the chapter. Highlighting information you intend to go back and re-read is not real efficient either, because realistically, how often do you re-read text? If you’re going to read, be active about it, and highlighting is not it. Annotation is the name of the game, and it’s basically paraphrasing in your own words what you have read. If you own the book, write it in the margins, if not– use sticky notes or a separate sheet of paper to pull out definitions, theories, or ideas you think are central to the readings. Make sure you mark what page numbers you got the information from, for easy reference. (Source: College Rules! By Nist and Holschuh)

STAND OUT [from the crowd]

I understand you’re shy and you don’t want to ask a stupid question, but you want to be more than a name on a piece of paper– you want to be a face to remember. This is especially crucial for classes in which professors won’t bother learning each student’s name– and they might even tell you this the first day of class. If your professor likes the sounds of their own voice so much they take up all of class time, wait until after class to introduce yourself and ask a question. And keep asking questions or making comments, let them know you’re paying attention.

ME TIME [in moderation]

Understand and be clear about what your down time activities refer to. Is it and hour on Facebook, a social club event, or an evening bowling? Know what your rewards are, and treat them as such– delaying gratification is well worth it because you are learning how to enhance the pleasure by grueling through the painful mud first. After you’ve put in hard work completing important assignments, writing papers, and putting in a decent amount of time studying…that reward will be that much sweeter.

STUDY [without distractions]

Being in the library for 6 hours at a time does not constitute ‘productivity.’ I am learning this the hard way. I study while maintaining a full-blown text conversation. I also freelance study; I get tired with one subject, and move on to another. There is a pattern forming here showing me I’m lacking long-term concentration. Surely my texting is affecting the way I relate to the subject matters on my plate. I will soon come to see what strategies work for one class, and what I need to change in order to call what I do at the library real ‘studying.’ I cannot tell you how you must study (surely every class is different) but I will say that you should monitor what you’re actually learning during these sessions by quizzing yourself, talking out loud to yourself about what you have learned, and other rehearsal strategies. The big show (exams) will not be too far ahead… how will you score?

Best wishes for finals,

She

Surviving School (at age 26)